New BlackBerry OS 6 To Enhance Touchscreen, Browser Capabilities

By  Susan Nunziata — April 27, 2010

In his keynote session at the Research In Motion Wireless Enterprise Symposium in Orlando on April 27, 2010, RIM President/CEO Mike Lazaridis offered a sneak peek at BlackBerry OS 6, due in Q3 2010.
The advances in BlackBerry 6 include new touchscreen functionality. While RIM executives here at WES decline to comment on the company's plans for further developing its touchscreen offerings, the multi-touch support offered in OS 6 imply future touchscreen hardware from the company.
We spoke with Alan Panezic, VP Platform Product Management at RIM, about the possibility of new form factors from RIM, such as new touchscreen designs or larger devices (a la iPad). He didn't outright deny the possibility but rather emphasized the company's focus on continual research and development.
Among the highlights of BlackBerry OS 6:
  • Crisp, more immersive visuals, including new graphics, animations and transitions
  • A new WebKit browser designed for high-fidelity fast, rich browsing, with support for multiple sessions (i.e. tabbed browsing)
  • Multi-touch support (e.g. pinch to zoom) while browsing, viewing photos, and other functions
  • Graphical, context-sensitive menu pop-ups
  • Redesigned core apps
  • A new media player UI
  • New Home Screen experience, including multiple views based on content type (All, Favorites, Downloads, Media, etc.) and universal search
A new app for integrating RSS and social networking feeds A video highlighting OS 6 features can be viewed here.

The new OS news comes on the heels of the introduction of two new devices on April 26, 2010 -- a CDMA version of the BlackBerry Bold that will debut in the U.S. on Sprint, and a redesigned BlackBerry Pearl that is the company's first handset to feature 802.11n Wi-Fi. 
RIM also introduced the latest updates to its BlackBerry Mobile Voice Server, which includes Voice over Wi-Fi functionality, among other features.
In other news from WES:
Hewlett Packard announced its strategy for delivering mobility as a service, with an array of tools and frameworks designed to ease the IT burden of managing mobility in the enterprise. The company also is featuring its new BlackBerry application, ePrint, which enables BlackBerry users to print from their smartphones to any Internet-connected printing device with just three button clicks.
Oracle outlined its mobile strategy, which will involve optimizing its development framework tool ADF to make it easier for users to extend Oracle solutions to mobile devices. The company also offers MobileSync, which enables apps to sync from SQL Light on the back end to the mobile devices and back. In terms of the company's packaged application offerings, its next generation of Fusion, due in 2011, will provide a framwork for mobile extensions of a wider range of Oracle apps than currently exists today. Oracle's Ted Farrell, Chief Architect for Tools & Middleware, says the company is currently offering a developer preview of its new tools for enterprises interested in pilot projects. Production versions will be available in time for its Oracle Open World conference in fall 2010.


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